Black Panther‘s immense hype and anticipation certainly assured that the praise for the film might come across as lofty, but it also signifies that this movie represents a necessary cultural shift for many reasons. Because of this, it was inevitable that at least one film critic will want more of the same usual Marvel wisecracks and silliness, and the Ryan Coogler-directed film gets a negative review ahead of its official release for attempting to make a different kind of movie.
Ed Power, a critic for Ireland’s The Independent, went into Black Panther realizing the gravity of the film and the timing of it as well. Considering that in America with President Donald Trump in power and as racial tensions continue to swell, the timing for the film’s was definitely a clever plan. However, Mr. Power wanted the usual Marvel superhero escapism, and some of the fun elements from previous films starring Robert F. Downey’s Tony Stark/Iron Man were missing.
From The Independent:
The strain is visible, especially in the performance of Chadwick Boseman as Prince T’Challa – the eponymous Black Panther. In the context of the place United States finds itself today, and where it has come from, Boseman knows he can’t wise-crack his way through the film in the fashion of, for example, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, and the responsibility to be at all times sincere weighs on him.
T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka, was assassinated at the start of Captain America; Civil War and, as Black Panther begins, the prince is about to ascend to the throne. Under his dominion is Wakanda, a hidden “Afro-futurist” nation at the heart of the Continent which can exist apart from the rest of the world thanks to its endless reserves of the superpower mineral,“Vibranium”.
Power adds towards the end of the film, wanted more action, fight scenes, and T’Challa/Black Panther handing out fades to bad guys. Look, the movie features a young man who inherits a kingdom, lords over the most technologically-advanced nation in the world, commands the mantle of a symbolic figure to his people, and, on top of it, has to worry about a villain challenging his rule that looks just like him.
Sorry, this movie needs to be handled with the care Coogler reportedly gave it. We don’t get too many chancs in Hollywood to goof about when it comes to superhero films. Let us have this one, see what it does, and maybe in Black Panther 2, we can get back to “rock ’em, sock ’em” filmmaking.
Photo: Marvel Studios